Turning Tuesday at Codger Lodge this week was a “sit by the fire and read a good book” kind of a day. We endured the interruption of our journey into spring by ignoring the spate of nasty weather and enjoying the warm and relaxing ambiance of the lodge.
The whole codger experience was enhanced with two boxes of doughnuts and two pots of coffee. This week the show and tell items were distinguished by the variety of woods used in their construction. Jimmy Morrison displayed three bowls turned from ambrosia maple, elm, and holly. Mikey had a small presentation box with a sliding lid. Mikey used western cedar and walnut for the box. The stylus that he turned for Suzy is Bubinga, I think.
Mikey finished the spalted maple bowl that he started last week and Walt Tuttle had a very nice salad bowl that he turned from butternut. Henry Aglio brought his unusual flea market purchase. The plane was manufactured by the Chaplin tool company. It is similar to a Stanley bailey #6 with a wood handle and a plastic or hard rubber tote. The plane’s frog design is a unique two lever system. The top lever is the typical lateral adjustment while the bottom lever sets the iron extension or depth of cut. This plane certainly inspires codger cogitation.
We plan to do it all again next week. Come on down and join us to see what is turning on Tuesday at Codger Lodge.
Mourn the dragons.
I subscribe to Norm’s hypothesis that “you can’t have too many clamps”. However, in a concerted effort, Gene and Ron demonstrated that some projects can’t use all of them on one glue-up.
This is written by John Moody, woodworker and site admin for The Patriot Woodworker website. Here, he takes a look at a wooden hand plane in their “Throw Back Thursday” event.
Here is John’s story:
In the past few weeks while helping to clean out an old building, I ran upon this old wooden plane which at the time was quite dusty and dirty. It was about to make it’s way to the burn pile when I ask if I might have it. Immediately I took it to the truck and saved it from the burn pile. All I knew at the time was this was just an old wooden plane, but looked good enough I thought I could put it on a shelf in my office for conversation.
While spraying some finish on a table this week and waiting for it to dry between coats I decided to take the old plane and clean it up and see if there were any markings on it. To my surprise as I removed the many layers of dirt and rust from the cutter, I noticed some lettering beginning to show. I started getting a little excited as it is then you can at least research your finding and see where it might have traveled from and to. The letters E.W.N. Starr & Co were all I could make out at first. Then there were a few letters on a second line and CAST on the bottom line.
That started me in my Google search to see what I could find out about E.W.N. Starr & Co. According to a web site I found on Tool Makers of Middletown, Connecticut, The Starr company made Plane Irons only from 1846 – 1848. The company was started in Hartford by Nathan Starr, Sr. around 1787 who was a blacksmith by trade. In 1812 He moved to Middletown, Connecticut and operated a factory on Starr Mill. The company manufactured swords, pistols and eventually rifles for the U. S. Government and also made muskets. Nathan Sr. died in 1821 and his son carried on till 1845. During this period some 70,000 arms of varied kinds were made here. A number of commemorative swords for national heroes were also produced including one for Andrew Jackson. It was managed by three generations of the Starr family. Elihu William Nathan Starr was born 10 August 1812 and Died 14 June 1891.
Here is the logo from the Tool Makers of Middleton, Co. Site. The Starr Manufacturing Building.
The Starr Co was located near another plane company, the Baldwin Tool Co.
In 1783 Enos Baldwin was born in Cavendish, VT and in 1807 He comes on the scene as a toolmaker in Albany, NY. He opened a shop at 90 Elizabeth Street in the heart of what is now Lower Manhattan. Enos trained both of his sons, Austin and Eldridge Gerry to work in the business learning the trade of tool making. Enos died at an early age of 45. E. Baldwin became A&E Baldwin in 1830 with the half brothers running the business. The two brothers built the business into an impressive operation. They are also likely responsible for training many of the other NYC makers know to be in the tool making business. The partnership lasted until 1841.
So after finding the name of the plane iron I got out some Murphy’s Oil Soap and a soft bristle brush to see if I could find a logo on the front of the wood plane. After a little scrubbing here is what I was able to see.
I could only make out New York on the bottom so I took several pictures and put them on a larger monitor so I could enlarge them and have good resolution. I was able to make out a BA at the top and IN near the New York, so I started looking for information on the Baldwins to see what kind of stamps they might have used on their planes.
They had several different ones but looking through them I found what I am pretty sure is the one that is located on the front of the plane I have. Here is another picture of my plane.
So with just a little more cleaning the BALDWIN and NEW YORK shows up but I couldn’t make out what was on the left side until I found this web site.
It was then apparent that the left side had A & E. What also become interesting is that E.W.N. Starr had stock in Baldwin Tool Company. Starr was supplying plane Irons to Baldwin. So it looks very much like the plane I have is in fact an A.&E. Baldwin made in New York and a plane Iron made by E.W.N. Starr & Co. of Middletown, CT that would have been made between 1846 and 1848. My own conclusion is that this plane is definitely per Civil War and not really sure how it made it from the far North East to North Alabama. It would be nice if I could find the owner of it in this area. I plan on doing a little more research on who owned the building we were clearing and what connections they might have had. A link to Starr Iron blades and cost in 1847.The plane is 22″ long and has a few age cracks in it. The tote is solid and doesn’t have any breaks or cracks. The Iron looks to have been abused a bit with someone not knowing how to adjust the blade and beating on it with a hammer pretty hard to roll the edge like it is. So this is my Throw Back Thursday Tool. Hope you enjoyed it and how you find a way to save all the old tools you run into. You just never know what story they have to tell. Don’t let them go to the burn pile. Instead of just a piece on a shelf, now I have something I know some of the history about and the neat thing is it didn’t cost me a dime.
The Patriot Woodworker Site Administrator http://www.johnmoodywoodworks.com
“Don’t make something unless it is both necessary and useful; but if it is both necessary and useful, don’t hesitate to make it beautiful.” Shaker Saying
To learn more about The Patriot Woodworker, visit the website at www.The PatriotWoodworker.com. There you will find many talented woodworking Veterans, and how they help their cause through The Wounded Warrior and Home for Our Troops initiatives.
The Vertical “V” slots in the vise’s jaws secure round or square blanks under the drilling guide, keeping them parallel and square for consistently accurate and repeatable drilling. Fully adjustable to accommodate pen blanks and bottle stopper blanks up to 1-1/2”. A sturdy angled steel base allows for comfortable use with a hand held drill. Just clamp a pen or bottle stopper blank in the vise, center under your guide, and drill away. Vise will remain centered on every subsequent pen blank and bottle stopper up to 1-1/2″ square (2-3/16″ diagonal).
The WoodRiver DV2 Self-Centering Drilling Vise includes a set of 4 Drilling Guides and Stop Collars for the most commonly used sizes (7mm, 10mm, 25/64″, and 27/64″). Other sized drilling guides and stop collars sold separately.
Traditionally, a scrub plane is used when you have to remove quite a bit of wood from the edge or surface of a board, yet not enough to rip with a saw, but still having a great deal to plane. Its heavy, narrow, rounded cutter makes it possible to quickly and easily bring down the board to rough dimensions. Use it to back out base boards, true up sub flooring, size large timber or clean gritty boards. Made from 1896-1914, Woodcraft brings back this icon from an era long gone and produces it on American soil.
The concept for this project came from the 1920’s Stanley Scrub Plane. Our product development group restored and polished up an old plane into functioning order. Using it for some time, we learned the intricacies of the plane itself. Then the question came, could this be manufactured and assembled in the United States?
Six months of research and finding companies willing to take on such a task, we found that we could bring this American icon back, and keep it in the USA at an affordable price offering of $169.99. Plans were set in motion to start designing, tooling was created and the first prototype was delivered. Testing proved that this plane should be able to ride over rough surfaces yet still remove wood. The corners were rounded over to decrease tracking and the back was rounded to not catch on the return stroke. The addition of the blade support worked out well providing another friction point to stabilize the blade when taking large bites of material.
After receiving many opinions as to the size and feel of the tote and knob, the handle designs were still an issue, so we sent it up to the “Handtool Coach” Rob Cosman to design both parts. Rob drew his inspiration from years of use with other scrub planes and came out with a set of handles that will have a fit for almost any situation. We chose walnut to keep with the American theme and drew on knowledge from a company that has been making handles for over 80 years. Two coats of a mat finish really make the walnut grain come to life.
The tote height has changed from the original to accommodate a full hand grip since many use this plane one handed. By doing so, we found the need to reduce the blade length to accommodate the increase of the tote height. We found a company here in the States that has close to 50 years of experience to produce a new blade for the 40-1/2. Made from high quality A2 steel and hardened to a Rockwell 60-62, the blade edge is hand ground with a secondary bevel and polished. All other edges are softened for grip ease.
Finally the plane cap was originally fitted with a ½” screw and knob but we decided to increase this to ease tightening by using a ¾” 304 stainless for years of service. Other hardware includes machined rods for the handles and capped with a brass cap screw, all in ¼”-20 so that years from now when the owners grandchildren inherit the plane, these parts will be easy to fabricate.
Three sets of prototypes were made. Thanks to the help of new 3D CAD technology capabilities, this helped to keep cost down. We can honestly say this has been a labor of love for hand tools. This has not always been easy but that comes with the territory!
Woodworking Adventures visited the woodshop of Craig Bentzley in Pennsylvania to get the scoop on the new Pinnacle 40 1/2 Scrub Plane,
Optimized For Coarse Stock Removal
Traditional Design Enhanced For Modern Woodworking
Proudly Made In The USA
Ergonomically Designed For Better Comfort During Extended Use With A Longer Forward Leaning Rear Tote Made From Black Walnut
3″ Radius Blade Is Made From A2 Steel & Hardened To 60-62 HRC
Flat Sole With Radius Edges To Allow The Plane To Glide Over Rough Surfaces & Minimalize Tracking
In woodworking most tools need to be sharp to do quality work. We spend a great deal of pride and time in getting them sharp and maintaining the edge. Many woodworkers have asked me when is a cutting edge sharp. There are several methods to determine if an edge is sharp but I always say if you can do quality work with minimal effort then the tool is sharp enough for that task. And until recently I did not think anything in the shop could be too sharp. This summer I actually cut my skin (similar to a paper cut) on the edge of a board after I dimensioned that board. The edge is always knocked off during the sanding stages so the danger is not there for very long. Of course all the edges need to be sanded slightly round prior to applying a film finish because the finish will not adhere to a sharp edge. So for the first time I have to admit that an edge can be too sharp! Are the edges in your shop sharp enough or too sharp?
Tired of re-adjusting your clamps to hold different wood thickness or having multiple clamp setups? Still not enough pressure held once adjusted? Well, Kreg and Woodcraft have the answer for that. The new Automaxx™ Bench Klamps adjust automatically to hold materials that are thin, thick, or anywhere in between. Set the clamping pressure once, using an easy-to-regulate thumbscrew, and the Automaxx™ Bench Clamps do the rest. They lock closed easily and consistently every time and with every thickness. Compatible with Kreg Jig®, Kreg Portable Base, and Kreg Jig® Jr.
Automatically adjusts to any material thickness up to 2-7/8″
3″ reach for face members 2″ and narrower
Simple thumbscrew adjustment for clamping pressure
Comfortable handle grips for reduced hand fatigue
Large pivoting jaws with added pads for aligning face joints
Additionally, check out the new Kreg 3-Inch and 6-Inch Automaxx™ Face Clamps, now available at your local Woodcraft store or online. These Face Clamps work in the same manner and technology as the Bench Klamps, adjusting automatically to clamp materials that are thin, thick, or in between. You can clamp a 2×4 and then a 1/2″ piece of plywood without
ever re-adjusting the clamp. Kreg joinery just got a little easier, thanks to the versatility and simplicity of Automaxx™ Face Clamps. Below, Dave Stone, Kreg’s social media guy, demos the Face Clamps showing you all the capabilities.
So stop cranking, fumbling and re-adjusting, get these new clamps and enjoy a better clamping method today!
Recently (left to right below) Jake; Rob’s shop assistant, Dave; Rob, and Rob’s son-in-law, Chris “Frick” Wetmore built this custom workbench. Frick was more involved on the social media side of things doing site management, videography and editing. According to Rob, the need for a bench arose when he realized most of his online students were working on the end of their table saw or worse yet, a shop mate! Rob said, “I have a friend/customer that had been asking me to make him a super-duper bench so what better time! I use to make and sell benches but the selling price missed the actual cost by a few miles! I really enjoy making benches so I would entertain making another one. I bought back a bench I made 12 years ago and recently upgraded it and re-sold it. Point is, the market may be ready for a few custom benches. The hardware available has been a real downer so the chance to redesign and have a better mouse trap made was a big motivator. I ended up having new hardware made for the two benches in my shop plus the one I recently refurbished and sold, made a huge improvement. I think this latest bench is a bit over the top, I would not want to be the one to make the first “ding” in it!”
(see Rob’s workbench video below)
The bench is made from Mahogany and Hard Maple; all the horizontal Maple surfaces are veneered with ¼” thick Birdseye. The base is actually Spanish Cedar, looks like Mahogany and a lot less expensive. It even has a sharpening station!
The bench dogs have “T”shaped slots cut in them and “T” shaped pieces held in place with two springs from ball point pens. This provides enough tension to hold the dog in place over a greater range of heights. Works very nice.
Rob designed a better knuckle for connecting the threaded rod to the movable vise. It allows some horizontal movement to account for pieces that don’t have parallel sides however there is no vertical slop.
Over the top! Nah! Dovetail corners, Mahogany ramp, a tool tray, stretcher wedge…
Adjustable hinged height block features a 3″ lift. Rob said, “The older you get the harder it is to bend over. Using a plane it is advantageous to lean over the plane and use your body weight, especially when cutting dovetails. It is better done at a higher, more comfortable stance. You want the bench low for hand planing and high for cutting dovetails. Young folks can adapt, older folks don’t want to! For the finish, I applied several coats of thinned Tung oil on the top and sprayed the rest with lacquer. I did not want the excessively slippery surface lacquer leaves on the top, also wanted a surface that was easy to repair/refresh.”
Here is a brand new video, just YouTube posted at the time of this blog posting, by Rob on the build of this fine workbench…
Online Workshop Involves Both Cosmans
In 2011, Rob launched an online hand-tool workshop that was followed the next year by a second hand/power tool workshop, both projects aimed at reducing Rob’s need for travel away from home allowing him to spend more time with his family. Jake has been the cameraman for both workshops, as well as doubling as the featured apprentice, working through the hand skills as the student for his dad, the instructor. “I film five days a week. We try to keep the price really low so people can participate,” Rob said. “I have an online forum. If someone asks a really good question, Jake goes in and films the answer. My son-in-law downloads the videos to the website. We try to make the experience as if the person is standing right there. The audience likes our casual approach, we don’t cut anything and we work through the mistakes.” Here is more about Rob’s online workshop program:
Today Rob sees woodworking as an enjoyable hobby, but a difficult career. He speaks from experience. A college graduate, he launched a 12-year career as a custom furnituremaker trying to support a growing family. “I did all sorts of things to make it work. I sold graduation rings. I insulated basements.” In 1999, it became clear to Rob that he could never charge enough to make the income he needed. “I realized that the only people who would appreciate my work were the people who wanted to learn how to do it.”
From Tool Demos to DVDs to Teaching
In 2000, the opportunity to import a line of tools and sell them in Canada led Rob to produce instructional DVDs. “I recognized as I was selling these tools that many of these people had no experience in how to use them,” Rob said, “I started making DVDs to help them learn how to use the tools. As a result of the DVDs, I began to receive invitations to teach. I now have the perfect scenario.
Teaching is challenging and fun, and I am getting paid to pursue my hobby, which is building furniture.” Rob also continues to add to his line of premium hand tools. When asked what prompted him to design and make tools, he said: “Guilt! I was demonstrating to the audience with tools I had either modified or made. A lot of what I do is made easier because of these tools. As students recognized this, the demand for my tools became apparent. I could not find anyone willing to build them so I decided I would have to do it myself.”
In conclusion, it is an honor to know and learn from Rob in both woodworking and his views on life in general. Look for Rob at most Woodcraft shows and stores near you! You’ll be glad you did.
Thanks Rob, we appreciate all you do!
This sale is so big, we decided to spring into action a little early! Get a head start into WOODCRAFT for the 3-DAY SALES EVENT starting today, February 28th, for all your woodworking needs. JET & POWERMATIC Machines are 15% off (starting March 1 & 2) + Free Shipping – some exclusions apply*.
10% Off Power Tools, Exclusions Apply*
15% Off JET & POWERMATIC Machinery (starting March 1 & 2) & Everything Else (starting Feb 28th), Exclusions Apply*
The 15% off also includes Woodcraft Magazine, Plans, Magazine Downloads, and all educational materials, Exclusions Apply*.
Gift Cards; All Dovetail/FMT Jigs; All Dowelmax, Festool, SawStop, Select JET & Powermatic Machines, Tormek Products & Select Kreg Tools.
Offer Good On All Other Regularly Priced Merchandise.
Not Valid With Any Other Discount Or Coupon Offer.
The new WoodRiver No. 92 Shoulder Plane combines the best of the Edward Preston and Sons’ plane designs with modern WoodRiver® features to create a “new classic” with the look and feel of a shiny antique but the body of shoulder plane equipped for serious shop work, whether cleaning up tenons, rabbets and dadoes or creating joints.
The WoodRiver No. 92 is the result of two years of extensive prototyping and testing to develop a classic look for a plane that works as good as it looks. The classic shoulder plane features were retained – narrow body, slightly proud blade (to clean corners), sides square to the sole, flat bottoms and a necessary robustness—but a major new feature was added, an adjustable toe used to control the throat opening and help to minimize tear-out.
The body of the No. 92 is Cr40 stress-relieved ductile steel, machined square and flat, and the blade is Mn65 tool steel hardened to 60-64 Rc which combines toughness with the ability to take a keen edge.
We asked woodworker and teacher, Jerill Vance to take a look at our shoulder plane and give us an unbiased review based on his woodworking knowledge and experience. We first met Jerill almost 3 years ago at the Pocahontas Woods Fine Woodworking School, where he obtained his woodworking degree. You can find out all about Jerill from our previous blog,Pocahontas Woods Fine Woodworking School, and from his website - www.JerillVanceWoodworks.com.
Jerill stated, “Recently, I obtained a new Wood River #92 Shoulder Plane. It is an elegant, precision instrument of quality craftsmanship at a very modest price. The look, weight and comfort of this tool make it the envy of any woodworker. After spending a brief but enjoyable amount of time fine tuning and sharpening the iron in this plane, it created very fine shavings. With the adjustable mouth and blade it can be set up to easily trim a misaligned shoulder on any tenon joint. However, as I explained to a friend of mine, it is more than just a shoulder plane. The blade can be set flush with one edge and used to pare away excess material on the cheeks of the tenon. While I have the plane in my hand I also use it to chamfer the leading edge of the tenon.”
“So I wonder why is it not called a tenoning plane? To me it seems more logical since I use on every aspect of the tenon and not just the shoulder. How many hand tools excel in versatility but are stigmatized with a name that implies only one use? So if you don’t own a “tenoning” plane I suggest you consider one of these multi-use tools. Those on a fixed woodworking budget will be surprised at the modest price. So check out the Wood River #92 shoulder… I mean tenoning – plane. I am sure will you find a great use of this tool.”
Jerill also took the time to visit us at our Woodcraft Magazine Shop where we recorded this interview…